I am referring to the right age to get married. What exactly is the right age? People are always saying “she is too old to get married” or “she is way too young for marriage”. Presently, in Rwanda, this debate is going on from district to district. Rwandan legislators are debating if they should lower the marriage age from 21 to 18. Some people believe this will hinder the campaign on family planning while others believe that most Rwandans have been forced to mature before their age and should be allowed to make such big decisions.
Personally, I believe 18 is a young age. But then again lots of young men and women go through a lot before then and are very capable of choosing the person they want to spend their lives with.
I am not saying this change will only be positive; this could open Pandora’s Box to a lot of other issues in our society. There are young adults being forced into marriage with older individuals or a lot of young couples getting married without really thinking and this leads to kids having kids. I have had friends who have had to deal with a lot because of having kids at the age of 17 or 20 something. I cannot even fathom how I would be able to afford having a child.
There is a lot that goes with having a family, and maybe before they start issuing out marriage licenses to 18-year-olds, the Ministry of Justice can create criteria by which couples can look at to evaluate if they are really ready for marriage. It should not be compulsory but it should be optional for them to go through some sort of evaluation that can help them realise if they are ready for marriage or not.
As a 21st century woman living out your dreams, do you think you are ready to see 18 year olds get married in Rwanda?